It was a simple government class assignment: attend a city council meeting in order to better understand the workings of local government. For three Newton Senior High School seniors, however, the meeting spurred something even greater: NHS’s Community Cardinals.
“The council was talking about how to ‘renew Newton,’ and we were sitting at a table, and we came up with the idea of Community Cardinals to get our school involved,” co-founder Stevi Eggers explained. “There’s not a lot these days for teenagers to do here, and they needed a lot of volunteers, so I thought maybe if we got 50 kids from our school to help, that’s 100 extra hands that we could use, so we decided that we’d do community service projects from our school.”
After getting the project approved by the school and sponsored by teachers Lori Gilmore, Brian Cleveland and Jodi Morgan-Peters, Eggers, along with senior co-founders Amanda Richtsmeier and Micaela Sciarrotta, knew the next step was attracting students
“We have 50-55 kids involved so far and more come each week,” Eggers said. “It just kind of spiraled into a club.”
First on the club’s agenda?
“We helped Rock & Renew Newton to pick up leaves and cut down trees ands rake yards, so we help (existing service projects), but our Halloween High event was our own idea,” Eggers said.
In addition to a free dinner at the high school they’re planning for Thanksgiving, the Community Cardinals are hoping to bring a little winter wonderland back to Newton.
“In December, we’re going to try to create an ice rink like they used to have in town,” Eggers said. “So right now we’re looking for a place we could flood and freeze.”
While these projects aren’t set in stone just yet, thus far the effort has been a success in Eggers’ eyes.
“It took off a lot faster than we thought,” she said. “Most of the time when people say ‘community service’ they’re like, I don’t want to volunteer, but we’re trying to make it a more fun, teenage way for kids to get involved by making it more appealing to them.”
“It’s still volunteering, but people are energetic and hands-on,” she added. “You can join with your friends and meet new people while still helping other people out.”
Organizations that would like to contact the Community Cardinals for service-oriented projects should call NHS at (641) 792-5797 for more information.